Friday, November 30, 2012

Chapter 75 Work Hard for the Money

Two of the guys at Floor Service wanted to open a service station on the side and I backed them. I had no intention of working at the gas station but the two of them sort of quit or at least would not work at making the venture a success and I had to step in and help. I never worked so hard for so little in my life.

It took me about two years to discover the owner of Retail Rental was not handling the money as he should. I didn’t want to have any part of that so I resigned. Another learning experience: not doing my due diligence. I had a dilemma. I had resigned from two jobs in the last three years and that was not a good thing to have on your resume. I applied at several firms but no luck. I did have offers from Connecticut Mutual Life Insurance Co. and New York Life. Both offered a draw against commissions but I had a wife and three kids to support and I really was not sure about my ability to sell. I finally decided to go with Connecticut Mutual.
However, about the middle of March in 1961 the Vice President for Texas for the Telephone Company called and asked if I would like to return to the Telephone Company. I said yes, if it was not in Engineering. He said it was not and on March 20, 1961, I was re-hired as the Traffic Results Supervisor. The company had a group called Service Observers who monitored the service and measured it. They would stay on the line until the customer answered and then drop off, not listening to any customer conversation. We had these observers in Dallas, Ft Worth, Wichita Falls, Lubbock and Amarillo. This was the group I was to supervise. I had two managers to assist me and a Chief in each office. This was more like it, though I still wanted to get back to District work. I tried to be the best Traffic Results Supervisor they ever had and did fairly well. I received several nice raises and letters of commendation. They called me to St Louis (Southwestern Bell’s five state headquarters) to assist in training other Observing offices.
We still had the “Casa View Sinclair Service” business and Ernie and Jerry had continued to let it run down. Being the “silent” partner I had to spend more and more time there. I would get up and drive across town to the East side of Dallas and open the station at 6AM. I would get to the office by 8AM. At seven in the evening I would return to the station and close at ten or eleven. I finally told those two they would have to shape up or I was going to sell the station. That was okay with them because they had very little money invested in the deal. I sold it as quick as I could, at a loss of course. I had learned my lesson-several, in fact:
1. Never invest in a new enterprise you do not run yourself.

2. Never be 90% of the money in any deal where you are not running the show.

3. Never trust anyone to be willing to work at a deal as hard as you do.
4. Never get into any business that you know nothing about!

Sinclair logo found here.

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